MANILA, Philippines – What’s common about the Marcoses and Jesse Robredo?
According to Jesse’s widow, Vice President Leni Robredo, both her late husband and the Marcoses spent long years in public service.
“Ito pong mahabang panahong nanungkulan ang asawa ko, pareho din po, mahabang panahon din po nanungkulan ang mga Marcos,” the Vice President said on Tuesday, May 2.
But while Jesse had a long stint in government – first, as a longtime mayor of Naga City and then as chief of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Leni said her husband did not become rich as a public servant.
And this, according to the Vice President, was also the reason why it was hard for her to shell out the initial cash deposit of P8 million being required by the Supreme Court to defend her poll victory against 2016 rival former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
She said their lack of money to pay for the expenses that will be incurred in the recount of votes in last year’s polls to prove that she indeed won against Bongbong was also a proof that she and Jesse did not steal money from public coffers.
“Totoo pong wala kaming pambayad — isang pagpapakita na kahit mahabang panahon nanungkulan, hindi nagnakaw ng pera ng bayan,” Leni said.
And the Vice President said she wanted to pose a related question to Bongbong. “Ang akin pong tanong: Masasabi po ba iyan ni Ginoong Marcos, na hindi nagnakaw ang pamilya niya sa kaban ng bayan [My question is: Can Mr. Marcos also say that his family did not steal from public coffers?]”
Robredo on Tuesday said she had decided to talk about her financial resources after she learned that she was reportedly being belittled by her political opponent because she didn’t have the means to defend her poll victory before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
“Nabalitaan po natin na minamaliit tayo dahil wala po tayong pera. Minamaliit po tayo dahil wala daw, saan po daw kukunin. Saan ko kukunin ang ating idedeposito at babantayan kung saan ito galing,” the Vice President said.
“Ang 8 million po hirap na hirap tayo para ibigay, iyong 36 million po ng mga Marcos isang iglap nandiyan na agad. Napakadali po para sa kanila [It was hard for us to give the P8 million but the P36 million being required from Marcos, they produced it at once. It was very easy for them to produce the money],” said Robredo.
The Vice President was referring to the P36-million first installment that the PET required from Marcos for the recount of votes in relation to the former senator’s poll protest case against Robredo. Marcos said the money did not come from him but was raised by his 40 friends and supporters.
On Tuesday, Robredo went to the Supreme Court in Manila to pay for the P8-million cash deposit. She said portions of the money that she had raised for the PET deposit came from her savings, while the rest were from loans extended to her by Jesse’s relatives namely Vicente Hao Chin, Pablito Chua, and Rafael Bundoc.
“Pero tayo po kahit mahirap, kahit po maraming pagsubok ang pinagdadaanan, hindi naman po natin ipapayag na basta-basta nalang kunin sa atin ang boses ng taumbayan,” she said.
[Even if I’m poor, even if I’m facing many challenges, we will not just allow the voice of the people to be taken away from us.]